Questions 12 & 13

We can not see God. The scriptures* say this many times and in many places.[1] But there are places in the scriptures that say that a person or a group of people did see God.[2] How can both of these be true?

 

Because God is spirit*, we can not see God on our own. But God is not hidden from us. He is a God who has shown himself to us. He wants us to know him.

 

The scriptures say that we can see God by looking at the things that he has done.  We can not see the wind, but we see what the wind does. It moves the branches of the trees. It blows the dust on the road. We can see that God is there in the same way, even when we can not see him.

 

We can also see God through the things that he has made. We can see God because he is at work in the world. He provides food for the animals.[3] He sends the rain.[4] He gives the harvest.[5]

 

We can also see God in the stories from the scriptures. We see God as he acted to help his people. He chose Abraham.* He promised that Abraham’s family would bless* the world. He guided Abraham. He gave him a son. Then he rescued his people out of Egypt.* He guided them through the desert. He gave them his law.* He gave them the land that he had promised to them.

 

Sometimes, God did appear to his people so that they could see him.  God appeared to Adam* and Eve.* They spoke with God. They heard him, and he listened to them. We do not know what they saw of God. But we do know that they knew him. They knew that he was present with them. He appeared to Abraham as a man. He appeared to Jacob* as an angel.* And he came to Israel* as a cloud of fire. Then, when God wanted to show himself to us, he came to live among us. He sent his Son, Jesus. He became a man and lived among us. Jesus came to make God known.

 

But no man has ever seen all of God as he is in all of his glory.* So we can not see God because he can not be seen. But God always sees us. He always sees us because he is everywhere we are. In fact, God is everywhere. All of God is present, in all places, all of the time. There is no place that God is not. God can always see us because God is everywhere.

 

The scriptures tell us this in many places and in many ways. Look at this song that King David* wrote:

 

‘Where can I go from Your Spirit?

 

Or where can I run away from where you are?

 

If I go up to heaven*, you are there!

 

If I make my bed in the place of the dead, you are there!

 

If I take the wings of the morning or live far away on the sea,

 

Even there your hand will lead me,

 

And Your right hand will hold me.’ [6]

 

David knows that he can never escape from God. God always sees us. He is always present with us. So David gives thanks to God.

 

God is always there, in all places, at all times. This is not such good news for those who do bad things. The wicked can not hide what they do from God. God sees them. God is there, even when they think that he can not find them.

 

But this is good news for God’s people. Because he is always present, we can know that he will not forget us. We know that he is always able to hear us. We can speak to God wherever we are. We do not need to travel to a special place to find him.

 

Sometimes, in scripture, it may seem that God is only in one place at one time. God can do special things to make his people know that he is near to them. The scriptures tell us that God can be present in special ways in special places. The scriptures even speak of God coming to a place or going from a place. These are special ways that God can make people know that he is near.  But the scripture always reminds us that God is always present, in all places, at all times.

 

‘God is our place of safety. He is always there to help us in times of trouble.’  He is never far away from us. He is always able to rescue us. We are never alone.


[1] Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 11:27
[2] Genesis 16:13; Genesis 32:30; Exodus 24:1; Isaiah 9:1
[3] Matthew 6:26; Psalm 147:9
[4] Job 5:10; Psalm 147:8
[5] Psalm 65:9-13; Psalm 104:14-15
[6] Psalm 139:7-12